HARARE - Zanu PF bigwigs are anxiously waiting for the return of President Robert Mugabe from his annual holiday in the Far East, as the seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars ravaging the ruling party reach what one senior official described as “a tipping point” yesterday.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, the despondent politburo member said only the nonagenarian could stop the mindless bloodletting devouring the former liberation movement, further imploring Mugabe to do so “now, before it is too late”.
“We have reached a tipping point beyond which all of us must forget about this party which we all claim to love so much. If there is any advice I can give the president, in fact this is a plea, it would be to act decisively now, before it is too late,” the dispirited bigwig said.
The politburo member spoke in a week that has witnessed tumultuous developments — including yet another reported break-in at embattled Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Justice ministry offices and yet another Cabinet minister receiving a bullet parcel in his hotel room — as Zanu PF’s savage infighting gets uglier by the day.
And as all this happens, Mnangagwa’s determined party opponents are vowing that “nothing” can save the political career of the Midlands godfather and those of his allies.
The bullet that Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane received on Monday followed an order by the ruling party to its Midlands structure to conduct hearings against provincial bigwigs who stand accused of threatening him and two other ministers, as Mnangagwa’s home province is consumed by the party’s deadly factional and succession wars.
Insiders who spoke to the Daily News earlier this week said Mnangagwa’s party enemies were determined to deal with the VP and his key supporters “in the same brutal manner” that they destroyed his predecessor, former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
“Mnangagwa’s loyalists starting from the politburo, the central committee and then the provinces will come under the hammer more and more.
“Very soon, we will see them being chucked out from the party one by one. The idea is to leave him (Mnangagwa) with no support and to expose him as a person who cannot stand for his comrades,” one of the sources said.
The Daily News also reported this week that a number of Mnangagwa’s key allies in his Midlands heartland face possible expulsion from the warring post-congress Zanu PF as the battle to succeed Mugabe reaches a crescendo.
This emerged as the province’s party disciplinary committee started hearing complaints against three of his alleged regional lieutenants — national deputy secretary for administration July Moyo, Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena and Owen Ncube.
The hearing was initiated after three ministers — Anastasia Ndhlovu, Tapiwa Matangaidze and Hlongwane — all now linked to the Generation 40 camp that is said to be opposed to Mnangagwa, complained to the Zanu PF national leadership that they were being intimidated by the trio.
Deputy provincial chairperson Mackenzie Ncube, who chairs the disciplinary committee, confirmed that the trio had already been put to its defence, adding that the outcome of the hearing would be announced next week.
“The hearing is still at the preliminary stage but we need to be thorough when accusations are raised against members. It is my first time to handle such matters, so there is need to get to the bottom of the matter, hence we will only be able to announce the outcome next week,” Mackenzie said.
But the Daily News was reliably informed that the G40 was determined that now was the time to press home its advantage in the party’s seemingly-unstoppable factional and succession wars, and get the trio expelled.
“It is tickets for them. They are gone because the evidence against them is overwhelming ... These people are just buying time, but it will not change anything,” a provincial executive member said, confirming consistently accurate reports that have been carried by the Daily News on the ugly goings-on in the party.
In the meantime, there were also reports yesterday that Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere had allegedly written to Mugabe recommending the dissolution of the Midlands provincial co-ordinating committee and the suspension of the VP’s closest allies — a move that piles the growing pressure on him.
Those reported to be identified for suspension in Kasukuwere’s letter included Moyo, Wadyajena and Ncube, who stand accused of driving Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions.
“The purpose of this report is to provide you with a synopsis of the disturbances that are rocking our party Zanu PF in the Midlands province. The disturbances in Midlands are being caused by rogue elements who are pursuing what they term Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste agenda.
“The elements, led by Owen Mudha Ncube and Justice Wadyajena, are causing divisions in the province to the extent that the recently-appointed ministers from the Midlands province, namely Tapiwa Matangaidze, Makhosini Hlongwane and Annastacia Ndhlovu, are under serious harassment and abuse since their appointments,” the letter was quoted saying by the Zimbabwe Independent.